This recipe is my original, lol! In Chinese cuisine, stir fry forms a big part, if not the biggest. Almost any ingredients and any combination can be a stir fry. It’s all about your eating habits and creativity. I usually break down my stir fries into three parts for balanced nutrition: protein, vegetables and functional add-ons.
Now, let’s start with protein. I’m very happy to say here, all kinds of meat are suitable, you can choose your favourite! If you are vegetarian, tofu, eggs or other bean products will be a good choice. I recommend to treat the protein ingredients beforehand to achieve a better taste and texture. This is the way I prepare beef. I will marinate it for at least 15 minutes with some fresh ground pepper and salt, a teaspoon of sake, and most importantly some baking soda. Massage the beef until all the liquid are absorbed. Baking soda helps break down the long fibres in the meat, so it becomes tender and softer. I use two pinches for 100g beef. You can also use a small piece of fresh kiwi, pineapple, or papaya. Just mince it and mix with the meat. The enzymes in the fruits helps to soften the meat and also give it a fruity flavour.
The second part is vegetables. Mushrooms, peppers and squash are my favourite in stir fries. The most healthy combination is covering all different colours, while the most relaxing way is using whatever in your fridge, lol. The only tip here for the vegetables is cooking time. The general frying time should be: roots (potato, burdock, turnip etc.) > denser veggies (broccoli, pepper) > mushrooms > leafy veggies. If there are some thin leaf veggies, for example pak choi, the stem part should be cooked longer than the leaves. The thin leaves only need 20-30 seconds.
The last part is functional add-ons. There are mainly two types: flavour and color. Garlic, ginger, onion are the most commonly used seasoning ingredients. in Chinese cooking, people usually use spring onion white part instead of onion, if not a big amount is required. Stir fries will look better if you add some colorful veggies. The most common ones are carrot slices and bell pepper slices. You can also use red chilli rings, corianders or chives for garnish.
Okay, the long boring theory part is done. Let’s focus on the dish we make today. I use beef for protein, carrot and king oyster mushroom as veggies. King oyster mushroom is firm and non watery, perfect for stir frying. If you can’t find king oyster mushroom, any kind of firm mushroom will work. Carrot is one of my most used ingredient in stir fry. It’s sweet, it’s nutritious, it also makes the dish colourful. For functional add-ons I use garlic for taste and coriander for garnish. For the same recipe, you can use paprika instead of mushrooms. Here are some beef and paprika stir fries. Hope you like it!
Beef and mushroom stir-fry